New Zealand is COVID-19 Free

After a very well managed shutdown of the country, New Zealand is free of COVID-19 and people are able to live as they did before. The country had a strict, vast, and quick reaction to COVID-19 showing up in the nation and it’s paid off. Starting today New Zealanders are able to go gyms, work, parks, or wherever thanks to the efforts in following the government’s public safety rules. It’s great to see another nation get through the pandemic.

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

“Our collective results I think speak for ourselves,” Ardern said. “This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for – to keep one another safe and to keep one another well.” She has regularly referred to New Zealanders as a “team of five million” in an effort to unite people and encourage them to follow her government’s rules to curb the virus’ spread

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New Zealand Bans New Offshore Drilling, Plans Fully Renewable Future

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While Canada continues to condemn the future to climatic destruction by supporting the tar sands, their common wealth partner has decided to plan for the future. New Zealand has declared an all out ban on new offshore drilling projects and have even taken a step further to ban exploration for more stored hydrocarbons. Exploration for oil and gas greatly disturbs marine life forcing whales and fish to leave entire areas because the noise is so deafening.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to do what every other national leader should be doing – acknowledging the current and oncoming challenges of climate change and reacting to it by creating a sustainable economy. It’s great to see New Zealand set itself up for future success while protecting the planet!

“We’re protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Ardern.

“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels.”

Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.

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Thanks to Delaney!

This River is a Person in New Zealand Law

The Whanganui River its the first river to have the same legal stats as a person. The New Zealand federal government recently passed a bill granting the river legal personhood. This means that the river is afforded all the rights as a person under New Zealand law. The river’s rights to clean air, legal representation, and other protections people get are now granted to the river itself. This will protect not just the river, it also represents a change in how NZ thinks about the law.

With progress and time we should see other natural entities be granted the same protection as humanity in other jurisdictions.

Long revered by New Zealand’s Maori people, the river’s interests will now be represented by two people.
The Maori had been fighting for over 160 years to get this recognition for their river, a minister said.
“I know the initial inclination of some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality,” said New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.
“But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.”
The Whanganui River, New Zealand’s third-longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.
The recognition allows it to be represented in court proceedings.

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Thanks to Delaney!

A New Zealand School Abandons Rules, Ends Bullying

Having zero tolerance policies in schools is a truly horrible way to treat children. It can blunt curiosity and punish severely for minor infractions, combine such oppressive control with bizarre rules (like no playing schoolyard games) and you’ll bored, agitated and disengaged kids. When children aren’t able to express themselves in more traditional ways (like play), they tend to lash out.

With all of that in mind, a school in Aukland decided to toss out the rules. The results were a decrease in bullying and an increase in attentive learning!

Instead of a playground, children used their imagination to play in a “loose parts pit” which contained junk such as wood, tyres and an old fire hose.

“The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It’s during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school.”

Parents were happy too because their children were happy, he said.

But this wasn’t a playtime revolution, it was just a return to the days before health and safety policies came to rule.

AUT professor of public health Grant Schofield, who worked on the research project, said there are too many rules in modern playgrounds.

“The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it’s more dangerous in the long-run.”

Society’s obsession with protecting children ignores the benefits of risk-taking, he said.

Read more at tvnz.

Pacific Island 100% Solar Powered

Tokelau is a small island in the Pacific that has switched it’s entire power grid to solar, this is the first of a few islands in the region that will be fully independent from having to import fuel for electricity.

Before the solar power grid was completed, the New Zealand-administered grouping of three coral atolls, with a population of just 1,500, relied on diesel generators for electricity. Project coordinator Mike Bassett-Smith said the diesel was not only environmentally unfriendly, it also cost the islands, which lie about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, around NZ$1.0 million ($825,000) a year.

Bassett-Smith, from New Zealand firm PowerSmart Solar, said the change would allow Tokelau to switch money from fuel purchases to social welfare projects.

“For Tokelau, this milestone is of huge importance for their continued well-being,” he said in a statement received Wednesday.

Read more here.

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